The Cleveland City Council passed a motion Monday afternoon in support of the rehiring of Lt. Steve Tyson by the Cleveland Police Department after many family members, friends and colleagues spoke in his defense.
Lt. Tyson was terminated from his 27-year career after failing a random drug test. According to family members, Lt. Tyson suffers from kidney stones and took one of his son's pain pills one night after work.
Many of his supporters were extremely upset at the media coverage surrounding the event.
They said it was initially reported he was intoxicated while on the job. Co-workers spoke out saying this was not the case. In fact, Lt. Tyson's shift started approximately 12 hours after he had taken the one pill.
One co-worker said, "I was with him at lunch, he was not impaired in any way."
A family member said, "Steve's good name and character were smeared multiple times in the press, over the air and on the Internet."
Another family friend said the TV coverage of his termination used pictures of spoons and needles, implying he had a problem with illegal drugs such as heroin.
While the police department has stricter employee conduct codes than other city departments, it will be encouraged to accept the City Council's terms. If it does, as per the motion passed, the city will not be able to be held liable for anything involving the issue.
Multiple council members said they received more phone calls, emails and letters about the termination of Lt. Tyson than any other issue in their careers on the council.
Daniel Brantley said, "For reporters looking for scandal...Steve's personnel record is painfully void."
Mr. Brantley also told the council that Lt. Tyson even passed a polygraph test stating that he has no drug problem.
Councilman Richard Banks said, "This looks bad for our city."
He also said, "If it is the policy of the city of Cleveland to terminate an officer for that reason, then the policy is flawed in my opinion."